Amos & Andrew Reviews
It's a comedy and I laughed plenty of times, judging by the reviews, most people didn't and fair enough, it doesn't take much to make me laugh. All I ask is that you are genuinely trying. I find most modern comedies deeply unfunny and grounded in an artificial comedy that wants to create the illusion of comedy as opposed to any real comedy. Films like this though have a charm to them that make them feel genuine- a genuine Holywood cash-cow of course, but "real" in that sense nonetheless.
It's not exactly PC here, Samuel L. Jackson rarely appears in something that doesn't somehow feel like he isn't doing his race any favours when it comes to the comedy content- Much of this story comes from a community assuming Jackson's character is a burglar because he is black and he is inside a house. It's really that ridiculous but it's a mockery in this case- call it reverse-racism as one reviewer does but I don't see that at all personally, it mocks the attitudes of the white community in the film but I don't see any evidence that suggests that the, quite mad, community is supposed to represent the wider white one. It's no different than any other slapstick comedy setting- there's an air of ignorance specifically so it can be mocked. In this case the ignorance is based around racial attitudes and I don't see an issue with this. The black characters portrayed tend to be overly-suspicious and seem fearful of a constant threat- there's ignorance from all angles here and it's all intentional- it's a comedy with stupid humour and a stupid tone.
Call me stupid (and many do) but I like that humour and I liked that tone. I liked this film.
The opening moments that set up the premise leaves a bad taste in your mouth right from the start, and although there are a few moments when the film almost recovers from that, it never quite happens. In order to pull this idea off, the screenplay would have to be a lot smarter than this. I understood the points it was trying to make, but writer/director E. Max Frye's film is too conventional to achieve such lofty goals.
The problem there is that even as a simple comedy it fails primarily because it's just not funny. Frye throws in a lot of extraneous characters and subplots in a vain attempt to give the picture the feel of a madcap comedy, but it only clutters things up. The nosy white neighbors, crazy reporters, bloodhound hunters and black protesters don't really add anything to the proceedings. If anything, they take away from what could have been a thought provoking central idea in the right hands.
The only thing that does work is a funny supporting performance by Bob Balaban as a hostage negotiator blathering on about his own childhood oblivious to what's going on around him. And speaking of performances here, Samuel L. Jackson sometimes seems to forget what movie he's in. He delivers a fine speech about his dead father that would have been great in a better movie, but fits in nowhere during "Amos and Andrew". It shoots for the stars and comes up embarrassingly short.
There is just something I really like about it. I like how the story unfolded and something that annoyed me finally got addressed between the characters and I like how Amos and Andy got a relationship going while also conveying a pretty important message about racism across without hurting either side. It's the second film about racism with Jackson and I still think it's an issue because it is. I'm not racist. We should leave each other alone if we have nothing nice to say.